WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (7-7, 5-3 home) vs Los Angeles Clippers (9-5, 2-2 away)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: NONE (!!!!)
LOS ANGELES: Justise Winslow (out, personal), Marcus Morris Sr. (out, knee) Nicholas Batum (doubtful, achilles) Terance Mann (questionable, ankle)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
HOUSTON: Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Serge Ibaka(?), Ivaca Zubac
The Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies are both coming off a win heading into this Thursday match up, but the two teams could not be in any more different situations currently.
The Clippers are 8-2 in their last 10 thanks to a seven-game win streak that was snapped by the Chicago Bulls prior to their last victory against the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies are 5-5 in their last ten and snapped a three game skid with their blowout victory against the Houston Rockets.
Memphis looked better against Houston, for whatever that is worth, and will be at full strength in this game. The Clips are down bad. No Kawhi Leonard. Marcus Morris Sr. is out while Nicholas Batum is doubtful. Winslow is skipping this game for personal reasons and Terance Mann is questionable.
The odds are stacked in favor of the Grizz, so here are the keys to victory against Los Angeles:
Punishing Paul George
These are the games Dillon Brooks’ value is at its peak. With a thin roster, the MVP candidate Paul George will look to will his team to victory inside the FedEx Forum. Enter: Dillon Brooks. DB should have one focus on the night, piss off Paul George. Be physical, sell out to off-ball denial and get in his head.
In seven career matchups against each other, PG is averaging 22.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. On the season, he is averaging 27 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists. If Dillon manages to even hold him to the 7-game average of their prior matchups, I would say Memphis would be in pretty good shape.
Just Be Jaren
Jaren Jackson Jr. did some great things in the victory against the Houston Rockets and the fact is, the Grizz are just better when he is on the floor. In their 120-114 victory in LA earlier in the season, it was one of those games where Jaren checked off three key stats: 30+ minutes, 3+ threes made and 6+ rebounds. The Grizz have lost just once this season when Jaren does these three things.
Memphis needs him to stay on the floor and just be Jaren — knock down a few threes, block a few shots and stay out of foul trouble. He should be a mismatch problem all night that Ja and company should seek out.
Bet the Bear
The Clippers are currently 1.5 point favorites and I would hammer Grizzlies +1.5 until my hammer broke. The Grizz as an underdog in this contest are +100, so in essence Vegas currently sees this as a 50-50 game. The over/under is at 221 and I would take the under as both teams average under 110 points. Both teams are 8-6 against the spread this season. Memphis has hit the over just 3 of the last 10 games.
Prediction: Grizzlies will win straight up and the u221 will hit.
Vegas score prediction 113-105 LAC
Bet the Bear score prediction- 110-104 Memphis